In 1965, the South Korean company Asia Motors was founded. The head office of the company was based in Seoul. And just a few months after the official creation of Asia Motors, the company's engineers built a new military cargo vehicle, which was released under the name M-38A1. The appearance of the car was exactly the same as the famous American SUV. The machine was created exclusively for use on the military bases of the manufacturer's country. The target market for Asia Motors cars was the domestic car market in Korea, but in 1976, after the privatization of large enterprises in the country, the company became part of the Kia concern, which was planning to release its first off-road models.
At the shareholders' council, it was decided that the experiment should take place under the Asia brand, and if everything goes well, the release will begin under the parent company's brand. Asia Motors has begun building the first civilian SUV, actively leveraging Kia's technological expertise and generous funding.
Asia Motors produced such high-quality products that they became interested in it in European markets. Therefore, the management of the company in 1984 decided not to limit itself to the Korean car market, but to supply its cars to Europe and the Middle East. A significant expansion of the client base, special attention to marketing policy, new developments and the reliability of the machines produced are factors that have significantly influenced the increase in the company's reputation throughout the world.
Test development and formation of the management level of "Asia Motors" went on until 1997, when the first official sales of the brand's cars began. The model was named Retona, which, due to its low price, modern technical data and high reliability, attracted a lot of attention from journalists from Europe and Japan.
The car received a rigid monocoque body, which, coupled with a small size and an economical 2-liter engine with 163 horsepower, provided good sales outside Korea.
The Asia Retona was distinguished from other SUVs by its compact dimensions. A car with high cross-country ability could easily move on city roads. In many European countries, the SUV was produced under the Kia Motors brand until 2003. However, the model became the basis for the Kia Sportage parquet SUV, which immediately displaced Retona from the leading position, thanks to a well-thought-out design and a more comfortable cabin.
In '95, the Rocsta 1.8 DX Soft Top open-top SUV was launched. The car was powerful, functional, reliable, fast and small in size. Under the hood there was a gasoline engine with 86 horsepower and the car accelerated to 130 km per hour. But the biggest advantage of the Rocsta 1.8 DX Soft Top was its ease of maintenance. The car was "fed" with gasoline numbered 95 and spare parts were selected without any problems. The next version of this car was the R2 model. The model no longer differed in technical characteristics, but in external data - a much greater length, width and an elongated wheelbase.
Asia Motors sold more than two hundred thousand cars of various models and modifications, for which the company received extremely positive feedback from satisfied owners.
In 1998, the economic situation of "Kia" worsened, and it became part of the "Hyundai" concern, which already had its own off-road vehicles, but was striving to secure ready-made models that were familiar to the buyer.
However, sales of another Asia Rocsta model have been steadily falling since 1998, and in 2001 the model was discontinued. The management of the concern decided to transfer the Asia plant to the production of buses and trucks, and to use the ready-made developments of Kia to enter the off-road car market.
The Bird and Grandbird bus models entered the market and became very popular all over the world, while Asia continued to exist. There are many versions of Asia Motors buses available on the market, which receive 6.3-liter engines co-developed with Daimler.
Today, the company continues to build military vehicles, tractors, medium and heavy-duty trucks, refrigerated trucks, passenger cars, vans, and small but roomy vans such as the Hi-Topic AM725. The company continues to sell its products not only in the South Korean market, but also to export to the CIS countries, Europe and the Middle East.